Juvenile hall gains support | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Juvenile hall gains support

Gregory Crofton

It seems like the money has been forked over, now it just has to be built.

Last week the California Board of Corrections’ Executive Steering Committee recommended that El Dorado County receive $4,020,000 in federal grant money to build a 40-bed juvenile hall at South Lake Tahoe. The recommendation still has to be approved by the entire Board of Corrections May 17.

“It’s very rare the full Board of Corrections does not follow the executive steering committee’s recommendation,” said El Dorado County Facilities Manager Tim McSorley. “So we are proceeding on the assumption that we will be building it. We’re anticipating we’ll begin construction in May 2003.”

In February, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved up to $5 million in matching funds for the hall and that allowed the county to apply for the federal grant money.

The hall, which may be built on land adjacent to South Shore’s El Dorado County Jail, is expected to cost between $8 and $9 million.

El Dorado County was ranked third out of the 11 counties recommended to get a share of $131.7 million to be used for juvenile corrections. In total, 31 construction projects requested a portion of the money.

“I’m just really jazzed about it,” Solaro said. “It’s something I think the whole community feels very strongly about. This is an issue I campaigned on when I was running for office. As former chief of police at South Lake Tahoe, it’s been a concern of mine for many years. I’m very optimistic because of the grants.”

As part of the county’s application process for the money, about 15 officials, including Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury, went to Sacramento April 5 and appeared before the executive steering committee.

In a several-minute speech in front of the committee, Kingsbury explained the need for a juvenile hall at South Lake Tahoe.

“I tried to set South Lake Tahoe apart from some of the other counties competing,” she said. “(Like) the distance between South Lake Tahoe and Placerville, and the fact the road is often impassable in winter. I also discussed the fact that we often have to play Russian Roulette because our hall is at overpopulation. We have to make decisions as to who we keep in custody and who we release and that’s never a comfortable position to be in. I told them that I end up having to send a lot of kids to outside placement rather than treating them in the community.”

Both Kingsbury and McSorley said El Dorado County’s having more representatives at the April 5 meeting than any other county helped its application.

“We all stood up in turn as our names were called and it was obvious they were impressed with the strong showing of support countywide,” Kingsbury said.

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